Are Ithaca shotguns worth it?


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Archangel14
May 19, 2013, 09:22 PM
There an Ithaca 37 Home Defense model at my LGS going for about $650. Nice, solid, holds 6 (I think).

But right next to it is a suped-up Mossberg 500 that holds 9 shells. The price is $420.

I've shot my Mossy 500 plenty, and it's been flat out reliable. So I ask, is the Ithaca worth it at $650? Or would I be throwing money away based upon the "idea" of having something cool?

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Fred Fuller
May 19, 2013, 09:43 PM
They're worth it to folks who like Ithacas. New ones (again called 37s, in one incarnation they were called 87s) have an MSRP of $685. I don't know if you're looking at a new one or an old one. Whether it would be worth it to you or not, I don't know. https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/reviews/the-new-ithaca-model-37-defense-gun-a-classic-12-gauge-pump-action-powerhouse/

By the same token, you have your Mossberg chops down pat, and that's worth a lot. There's nothing at all wrong with a Mossberg, if it will do the job you want it to do.

flylo
May 19, 2013, 09:53 PM
I have both you're looking at only my Ithaca is a older Lightweight. The older 37s you can hold down the trigger & when you pump it fires every time when the breech closes. Very fast but I bought the mossberg for home defense. Also china Norinco made a copy I bought several years ago for $100 new of the Ithaca but it had the dissconector like the new ones. Unless your a lefty I'd buy the Mossberg. JMHO

VA27
May 19, 2013, 10:28 PM
As much as I like Ithacas if I were you I'd stick with Mossberg for one reason. You're already used to the safety on the Mossberg. I know that sounds silly, but missing a shot 'cause you're fumbling for the safety is not a good thing.

I'm not a collector so wouldn't pay that much for an Ithaca no matter how nice it is. I picked up a 1967 5-shot DSPS from the LGS a coupla months ago for $125. Someone had chopped the stock off at the pistol grip. I picked up a used stock for $20 and a $1 bolt from the hardware store and it's right as rain now. It's a special order PD gun with a disconnector (no slam fire).

Steve C
May 20, 2013, 04:52 PM
Personally I wouldn't spend over a couple hundred for any special purpose short barrel home defense/riot shotgun. If it was a nice featherlight with 26" or 28" barrel then maybe I'd go as high as $550.

For a home defense shotgun that's going to sit in the closet for the next 40 years, will rarely be shot at targets and highly unlikely be used for the purpose it was purchased you are better off finding a cheap Chinese made H&R or other short barrel 870 or Ithaca clone and save yourself $400 or more.

For my home defense shotgun I simply bought a 20" 870 riot barrel for $100, a 7 round mag extension for $30 and a barrel clamp for $5 to convert my hunting shotgun to HD gun but can turn it back into hunting configuration quite easily.

Archangel14
May 20, 2013, 05:23 PM
For a home defense shotgun that's going to sit in the closet for the next 40 years, will rarely be shot at targets and highly unlikely be used for the purpose

Actually, I take my Mossberg to the range with some frequency and plan on taking some shotgun training courses. It's not a safe queen. Still, I have this interest in the Ithaca. Is it just an old school "cool" thing that interests me? For a few hundred dollars less you can get many durable shotguns. I think I picked up my 500A for about $300 total (tax, fees, etc...). What makes the Ithaca worth the extra $350+. I just can't see what it is.

Thanks.

Nickel Plated
May 20, 2013, 06:55 PM
For reliability and function, I'd say not. No mater how much money you spend on it, it won't do anything any better than a $300 Mossberg or Remington. Not to say it's not reliable, but it ain't $600 worth of reliable.

I feel the Ithaca is the kinda shotgun you buy because you specifically want a shotgun that's built the way I feel shotguns should be built. Wood and milled steel everything. No plastic or alloy to be seen. Not necessary, but like you said, it's cooler that way.

Sort of like a proper semi-auto G-36 clone. No better than a decent AR-15 but people will still pay the $2-3,000 for it because it's a G-36.

If you want an Ithaca, then buy the Ithaca. If you just want a home defense shotgun, there's cheaper just as good options out there.

4v50 Gary
May 20, 2013, 07:15 PM
I'll take an older Ithaca 37 over a newer gun. The old ones could be fan fired. :D

243winxb
May 20, 2013, 07:29 PM
To much $$ for an Ithaca. It started life as a Remington, they dumped it for the 870. If i remember correctly? Had a 16 & 12 ga. Had problems with both when new at the time. Yes, hold the trigger back & keep firing. Not a safe feature.

Virginian
May 20, 2013, 08:13 PM
I do not believe the barrels can be swapped on the tactical Ithaca either.

rcmodel
May 20, 2013, 08:21 PM
I know that sounds silly, but missing a shot 'cause you're fumbling for the safety is not a good thing. After 50+ years of shotguns, I'm just totally mystified how anyone can "Fumble" a cross-bolt safety?

Either your trigger finger is on it, ready to push it off if you need to shoot?

Or your trigger finger is inside the trigger guard on the trigger, before you are ready to shoot?

If you are doing it the second way?
You need more training with your shotgun, or any gun.

rc

jaguarxk120
May 20, 2013, 08:22 PM
243winxb please note the Winchester Model 12 will do the same thing and there are many out there that swear by the Winchester M12!!!

Nickel Plated
May 20, 2013, 09:07 PM
After 50+ years of shotguns, I'm just totally mystified how anyone can "Fumble" a cross-bolt safety?

Seriously guys. This isn't a jet fighter here. If you can't operate the controls of a gun you probably shouldn't have one. if it's that big of a problem, then keep the safety off.

But yeah, you can't swap barrels on newer home defense Ithacas. If you want to swap barrels. Either get an older DSPS or get a new hunting gun and buy an extra non-vented field barrel for it. Chop that down and you got a gun that can go from 18" defense to 26-28" hunting.

rcmodel
May 20, 2013, 09:35 PM
I always thought a tang or receiver safety on a fighting shotgun was an abomination.

If you have your thumb on top of the receiver where the safety is?
It isn't wrapped around the pistol grip controlling the gun where it should be.

Without your thumb over the pistol grip?
You are a 90 degree twist away from someone taking the gun away from you.

That's why humans have evolved with Opposable thumbs.

They were always able to maintain control of fighting tools!!

Had early humans been fighting with a Mossberg's safety on clubs & spears?

None of us would be here tonight because saber-tooth tigers would have took our clubs and spears away from us after only one or two Mr. S.T Tigers Tactical weapons control classes pointed out the tang safety design weakness.. :D

rc

Fred Fuller
May 20, 2013, 10:18 PM
What makes the Ithaca worth the extra $350+. I just can't see what it is.

Because something costs more, doesn't necessarily mean it's worth more...

Cost can be a function of many things, and worth might not be one of those things.

Mitlov
May 20, 2013, 10:19 PM
@rcmodel--my Browning BPS (a field gun mainly used for sport shooting, not a fighting model admittedly) has a tang safety. I really like it. Why? One of the advantages of a bottom-eject shotgun like the Model 37 and the BPS is that it's ambidextrous. But cross-bolt safeties aren't. As a southpaw, I can't operate a right-hand-oriented crossbolt safety without completely removing one of my hands from the proper position. With a tang safety, I can flick it off with my thumb without moving my hands--right-handed OR left-handed.

Arp32
May 20, 2013, 10:30 PM
Is the Ithaca worth a couple hundred more than a solid Mossberg? Probably not.

Did I buy a beater M37 from a pawn shop and put $400 into new sights, replacing busted (and missing) internals, and refinishing it? Yes.

Probably not a good financial decision, but it was only a couple hundred bucks and I got exactly what I wanted. Financially I was better off sticking with the perfectly functional 870 Express I used to have. There was nothing wrong with it. But no regrets here.

It's not an investment. It's a shotgun. I say get what you want.

ICE1210
May 21, 2013, 12:13 AM
I'd get the Ithaca. An Ithaca was my first repeating shotgun. Passed from Grandfather to Father to son. I love the Ithaca 37 shotguns, I like the feel, the balance, the smoothness of operation. The Mossies just feel clunky and cheap to me. If you just want a cheap burglar blaster the Mossberg will serve. IF, however, you desire an " an elegant weapon from a more civilized age" get the Ithaca.

rcmodel
May 21, 2013, 12:21 AM
The Mossies just feel clunky and cheap to me.You noticed that too?

For those of us who grew up on Model 12 Winchesters and Ithaca 37's?

Well you hit the nail on the head just about square!

rc

natman
May 21, 2013, 03:08 AM
I know that sounds silly, but missing a shot 'cause you're fumbling for the safety is not a good thing.

After 50+ years of shotguns, I'm just totally mystified how anyone can "Fumble" a cross-bolt safety?

Either your trigger finger is on it, ready to push it off if you need to shoot?

Or your trigger finger is inside the trigger guard on the trigger, before you are ready to shoot?

If you are doing it the second way?
You need more training with your shotgun, or any gun.

rc

Read the original post again:

You're already used to the safety on the Mossberg. I know that sounds silly, but missing a shot 'cause you're fumbling for the safety is not a good thing.

The poster is recommending the Mossberg safety not because of some superior quality of its safety or because a crossbolt safety is difficult to use, but because the OP is used to it.

That's sound advice.

jaguarxk120
May 21, 2013, 07:45 AM
Natman when I shoulder a gun there are somethings I see and some I don't see such as:

Don't see the browning hump on the A5
Don't see the lever on my O/U's
Don't see the hump on my Franchi AL48

But when I shoulder a Mossberg pump the first thing in my line of vision is that ^*%* safety sticking out like a big wart.

By the way I grew up with a M37 in 16gauge, one of the best upland bird guns ever made.

natman
May 21, 2013, 09:23 AM
Natman when I shoulder a gun there are somethings I see and some I don't see such as:

Don't see the browning hump on the A5
Don't see the lever on my O/U's
Don't see the hump on my Franchi AL48

But when I shoulder a Mossberg pump the first thing in my line of vision is that ^*%* safety sticking out like a big wart.

By the way I grew up with a M37 in 16gauge, one of the best upland bird guns ever made.
To repeat the point:

It's not about whether you like the Mossberg safety or if it is a good design or not. It's what the OP is used to and it remains excellent advice that his HD gun has the same configuration as the gun he shoots regularly.

I don't know how to make it clearer.

jaguarxk120
May 21, 2013, 10:05 AM
Actually the original post was about Ithaca shotguns are they worth it?

And not Mossberg safety's

Ithaca's are made of steel not aluminum and plastic. They cost more because they take more machining to make.
Tooling for aluminum lasts longer than tooling used on steel. A machined trigger group costs more than a injection moulded plastic trigger group:barf:.

Parts machined vs stamped parts cost more.

Yes I think a Ithaca is worth it:)

murf
May 21, 2013, 10:17 AM
just pretend it says "tactical" right after "home defense". now the price is just right!

murf

Sapper771
May 21, 2013, 10:23 AM
I currently have two Ithacas, a 1950's M37 and a 1970's M37 DSPS. I have owned several Mossberg 500's, currently own a 590A1. Also own an old Scattergun Tech Remington 870, which is a sweet shooting machine.

All do the job just fine.......but there is something about those Ithacas. They point and shoulder better for me than the others.

If you are really wanting an Ithaca, check around. I have found older models on used gun racks in shops for under $400 in good condition.

Fiv3r
May 21, 2013, 10:29 AM
I can't say if a new Ithaca is worth the premium over a Remington or Mossie. However, my next new pump gun is probably going to be a new production Ithaca...if I ever need to purchase another.

I have an old DSPS that I purchased from a good friend who purchases it from a police auction back in the early 90's. The gun is probably 40 years old. There is an undeniable fit and finish to the 37 that I didn't have on any of the 870s. The balance and the smooth action makes the old Warhorse feel like a weapon designed to be carried and swung into action with great confidence.

I have absolutely nothing against the 870 or 500 series. I think they are fine guns. Is the 37 worth nearly twice as much on a quantifiable level? I don't think so. However, there is just something about feel of the Ithaca that speaks to me. Then again, I have room in my stable for ALL types of firearms:D

CajunBass
May 21, 2013, 10:40 AM
What makes the Ithaca worth the extra $350+. I just can't see what it is.

Seems to me you've already made up your mind, so for you, it's probably not.

natman
May 21, 2013, 11:18 AM
Actually the original post was about Ithaca shotguns are they worth it?

And not Mossberg safety's

Ithaca's are made of steel not aluminum and plastic. They cost more because they take more machining to make.
Tooling for aluminum lasts longer than tooling used on steel. A machined trigger group costs more than a injection moulded plastic trigger group:barf:.

Parts machined vs stamped parts cost more.

Yes I think a Ithaca is worth it:)

One of my favorite guns is my 1956 20ga corn cob Featherweight. I agree completely that the quality of an Ithaca is much better than a Mossberg and if the OP were starting from scratch and wanted to know which to buy for a field gun that was going to be in constant use, I'd probably be arguing for the Ithaca for the same reasons you mention.

But he's not. He already owns a Mossberg, shoots it regularly and is used to its operation. That factor alone settles it for me. I can't see spending the extra money so he can have an HD gun that is going to sit unused for years, will be confiscated and kept in evidence if it ever is used and will operated differently than what he's used to using when reflexive operation is crucial.

Now I suppose one could make a case for the OP getting two Ithacas, one for field and one for HD, but that might be beyond the budget.;)

gunnerh
May 21, 2013, 11:33 AM
My 1st repeater shotgun was a used Ithaca 37 20 ga. My mom had to buy it with my paper route money,I was 12. I am 66 now and still take bird hunting. When J.M. Browning designed the 37 it came out 1st in 20, then 16, then 12. During my 2nd tour in Viet Nam I was issued a 12 ga with a 20" barrel, I was a happy camper. Never a hiccup with any of the 6 37 I used in over 50 years of service.
Mossburg makes a very good shotgun at a good price. The 37 has a solid feel and a soul that I love.

jaguarxk120
May 21, 2013, 03:55 PM
Natman if the OP gets a Ithaca it won't be long before he buys a second Ithaca and the Mossberg is shifted to loaner status.

PabloJ
May 22, 2013, 03:14 AM
There an Ithaca 37 Home Defense model at my LGS going for about $650. Nice, solid, holds 6 (I think).

But right next to it is a suped-up Mossberg 500 that holds 9 shells. The price is $420.

I've shot my Mossy 500 plenty, and it's been flat out reliable. So I ask, is the Ithaca worth it at $650? Or would I be throwing money away based upon the "idea" of having something cool?
Having been developed from the Remington 17 Ithaca is modified John Browning design. Worst quality Ithaca far superior product then a Mossberg or BPS repeating shotgun.

VA27
May 22, 2013, 12:26 PM
After 50+ years of shotguns, I'm just totally mystified how anyone can "Fumble" a cross-bolt safety?

It's easy enough IF you've been carrying an 870 or a 37 for 30+ years and then pick up a Mossberg with a tang safety and try to run it fast AND safe. It would work the same going from an 870/37 to a 1200...or going from a Mossberg to an Ithaca. The safety is NOT where your training/experience has taught you.


You need more training with your shotgun, or any gun.

rc

That was my meaning. He has a Mossberg. Going to an Ithaca might cause him to be looking for the safety on the hump when it's behind the trigger. Not an issue when it's a duck getting away. More of an issue when repelling boarders.

(I see a few understood my meaning, sorry for the confusion, I guess my communication skills need work)

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